Mature Students & PostGrads

Why is there different support for Mature Students versus Undergraduate Students?

From conversations we’ve had with multiple departments, it is clear that the needs of a ‘typical’ Undergraduate Student (aged 18-22) and those who are undertaking their studies later on in life are quite different. For that reason, we have created a dedicated Mature and PG Student landing page with all the current associations, clubs, spaces and support links which we feel to be most relevant to this broad cohort. If you feel there is something missing on this page, please feel free to get in touch. 

[sofia.khan.100@strath.ac.uk, Sofia Khan, Access and Participation Coordinator]

[Jodie.waite@strath.ac.uk, Jodie Waite, Student Development Coordinator]

 

What is a Mature Student?

A mature student is identified as anyone who begins the first year of their course after the age of 21. This includes undergraduate students who are beginning their studies after a period of time out of education, direct entry students, and any Postgraduate Students including PG Taught and PG Research (PhD) students. 

 

What is a Postgraduate Student?

A postgraduate student is anyone who is enrolled onto what is referred to as a ‘post graduate course’, or course which can only be accessed by initial completion of a first degree (usually at undergraduate level). These courses can be Masters Degrees, PGDE Courses or PhDs. If you are a PG Student, you are likely to have begun your Masters or Postgraduate study after you have turned 21 (though this isn’t always the case), in which case, you could also be categorised as a Mature Student.

 

What is a Doctoral Student?

A Doctoral Student is any student who is undertaking a Doctoral degree or PhD. These can be research or practice led. Typically, students who undertake a PhD have already completed an undergraduate degree and may even have completed a Master’s Degree. Therefore, they will also be categorised as Mature Students and PG Students. 

 

What is a First Generation student?

A first generation student is someone who is the first generation of their immediate family to attend University, either at Undergraduate Level or Postgraduate Level. 

[should these question be at the top of the page?]

 

[Societies and Spaces]

Mature Students Association

The Mature Student Association is one of our largest Societies, serving roughly 800 members. Located on the second floor of the Livingstone Tower, the MSA space consists of a large common room (complete with fridge, kettle, toaster and other basic cooking appliances), x meeting rooms, x general study spaces, x quiet study spaces, x bookable rooms and an office space for use by the MSA Committee. Whilst the MSA is there to serve any students who begins their studies after the age of 21, there is also more targeted support for Postgraduate and Doctoral Students through our Postgraduate Society and Doctoral Research Group respectively. 

 

For more information on becoming a member of the MSA click here.

https://www.strathunion.com/clubs-socs/societies/soc/6860/

For more information on standing as an MSA committee member click here.

[need a link to the call out for new committee members – TBC]

 

Additional Space provisions TBC

  • Student / Parent Spaces [ Rachel lobbying for spaces]
  • Nursery [long waiting list]
  • Breastfeeding spaces [Rachel lobbying for spaces]

 

First Generation Society

The First Generation Society is a new initiative developed this year. It is currently in the formation phase, and would therefore benefit from input, guidance and management from current FG students. First generation students may need a different level of support compared to their peers. Areas of support may be in relation to demystifying academia, understanding what support exists and how to access it, financial support and accessing services such as proofreading and other forms of support which would be typically expected to be offered from a student’s family.

The First Generation Society is also in the process of providing a dedicated space for FG students. 

In order to continue the formation of the First Gen Society, there needs to be a minimum of two committee members. As such, we are currently looking for two FG students to put themselves forward for election. 

Please note, any new committee member would be given full support and guidance from the Union, can access a small participation fund to support their duties, and as long as they complete enough volunteer hours will also gain access to a volunteer discount card. It is also a great way to improve your CV, get your voice heard and create a lasting legacy for yourself and your fellow FG students.

If you are interested in forming Strathclyde’s first First Generation Society and would like more information, click here

https://www.strathunion.com/clubs-socs/

To contact someone in relation to the formation of the First Generation Society, click here

[sofia.khan.100@strath.ac.uk, Sofia Khan, Access and Participation Coordinator]

[Jodie.waite@strath.ac.uk, Jodie Waite, Student Development Coordinator]

 

Strathclyde Postgraduate Society [not currently active – PG Rep to Revamp so TBC on name]

The SPGS provides support and a dedicated common room for all Masters, PGDE, PhD and other PG type students. The society offers a range of academic and social events throughout the year. 

The Postgraduate lounge is located on level 6 of the Students Union. It is accessed by a pin number and valid PG student card. 

For more information on becoming a member of the SPGS click here.

https://www.strathunion.com/clubs-socs/societies/soc/pgs/

For more information on standing as a SPGS committee member, contact your PG Rep.

 

Doctoral Researchers Group

Anyone undertaking a PhD at Strathclyde will become an automatic member of the DRG. The DRG have a yearly coffee morning in October to welcome new PhD students and assist in building networks within the Strathclyde PhD community.

The DRG focuses on:

  • Promoting cross-faculty events and training for postgraduate researchers
  • Communicating the interests, successes and constraints of postgraduate researcher life
  • Inputting creative ideas and new approaches to influencing support, training and impact opportunities
  • Establishing peer to peer support frameworks
  • Sharing good practice 
  • Informing institutional policy development

 

Make sure to also follow them on Facebook and Twitter to ensure you don’t miss out on any current events.

For more information on becoming a member of the DRG click here.

https://www.strath.ac.uk/studywithus/postgraduateresearch/postgraduateresearchersatstrathclyde/doctoralresearchersgroup/

 

Liberation Room 

In addition to the dedicated Mature Student and PG student spaces, there is also a Liberation Room for use by any individual who identifies with one of our four Liberation Groups. 

These Groups are:

  • LGBT+
  • BAME Students Strathclyde
  • Disabled Students Group
  • Feminist Society

The liberation room is located on level 6 of the Students Union. It is bookable for any liberation group member Tuesday to Saturday after 4pm. Out with these times, any student may use the space freely, without prior booking. Bi-weekly liberation coffee afternoons, led by VP Inclusion will take place in the liberation room on every second Wednesday 1-3pm. This is open to everyone.

For more information on any of our liberation groups click here.

https://www.strathunion.com/voice/liberation/groups/

Along with your Liberation Reps [https://www.strathunion.com/voice/liberation/reps/] the Union also has in place a Vice President of Inclusion. Your VP Inclusion Rep is Rachel. For more information on her role, and how to get in contact, please click here

[https://www.strathunion.com/voice/studentexec/vicepresidentinclusion/]

Faith Based Spaces

We also have a number of faith based societies, who may have additional space requirements which can be used by all who identify with that community. More information can be found here, by filtering the drop down menu to show faith and cultural groups.

https://www.strathunion.com/clubs-socs/societies/

 

Child Friendly Spaces

Campus Nursery

We are aware the nursery has a long waiting list, and so would advise to reserve a place early.

https://www.strath.ac.uk/studywithus/ourcampus/whatsoncampus/on-campusnursery/

Family Study Room

There is now a dedicated family study room on Level 3 of the library. For more information, please visit the help desk on level 3 of the library (Curran Building) or click this link for more contact information

https://www.strath.ac.uk/professionalservices/is/contact/

 

[Employability]

There is a range of opportunities for Mature and PG students to improve their employability. These range from volunteering opportunities, including taking up a leadership position as a committee member in one of the Unions’ hundreds of clubs and societies [link*], to workshops, training and our dedicated Jobshop page. 

For more information related to any of the opportunities listed click here

https://www.strathunion.com/opportunities/

Current training opportunities can be found here.

https://www.strathunion.com/volunteering/training/

If you feel there is an area of training or a workshop not currently covered by the Union which you feel would be of use to you and your fellow classmates, you can get also in touch with us by following the above link.

 

[Networking]

Learner Development Services

The learner development services are open to any student who wishes to explore their own learning. Support includes one to one advice sessions, workshops, lectures, supported study and self-access resources. In order to facilitate better learning environments, there are opportunities for current PG students to gain employment as either a near-peer support or ALD advisor. 

Peer and Near Peer Support 

It is recognised that students learn differently when engaging with their peers, or with other students who might be regarded as “near-peers” (e.g. undergraduate students engaging with postgraduate students). This service will facilitate peer and near-peer support through formal and informal engagement arranged in the centre and supported by staff and Associate Learner Development Advisers. 

Associate Learner Development Adviser

Similar to a Graduate Teaching Assistant, ALD Advisors will provide support in the supported learning area and may be invited to run groups and workshops in areas that correlate with their skill sets.

For a list of all the services, or for more information, please click here

 

Advice Hub 

The Advice Hub exists to offer guidance and signposting on a range of services. Advice falls into four main categories; academic, housing, finance and benefits. For a full list of services, and where to find the Advice Hub, please click here

https://www.strathunion.com/advice/faqs/

Common Questions from WA Students

Mature Students

Am I eligible for benefits?

If you are a full-time student, you may have entitlement for benefits if you care for a child or if you have a long-term illness or disability. Most people with eligibility can either apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Universal Credit – these are the most common benefits applicable to some students. A lot of old benefits such as Child Tax Credits, Housing Benefit, and Income Support can no longer be applied for in most circumstances. 

 

Part-time students have the same entitlement as non-students, but it’s important to know that your benefits can be affected by changes in your circumstances including student income, so it’s worth speaking to someone to have your entitlement checked. 

How do I pay for childcare?

There’s a few options depending on whether you are a Home/RUK, EU or International student. 

 

If you are a Home or Scottish student and receive the Lone Parent Grant from SAAS, you could also receive up to £1,215 from the Lone Parent Childcare Grant for registered childcare. While you apply for the LPG from SAAS, applications for LPCG are made directly to Strathclyde through the Funding & Financial Support Team. The LPCG is not income assessed. 

 

Students from England, Wales or Northern Ireland can apply for the Childcare Grant which covers up to 85% of registered childcare costs for full-time students. You’ll apply for this directly with your main student finance application every year. 

 

All Home/Scottish and RUK students can apply for the Discretionary Childcare Fund through the University for help with formal registered childcare expenses, whether they are a lone parent or not. This application is income assessed and based on need. 

 

EU and International students cannot apply for support with childcare costs. 

I haven’t studied for a while, can I get help with writing an essay?

Study Skills is the team for you! They work one-to-one, through group workshops, and offer online resources to help students with their learning and study needs. They offer advice in lots of areas including reading and note taking, critical analysis, and exam preparation, and some of their workshop topics include ‘Effective Time Management for Postgraduates’ and ‘Dissertation Planning and Writing.’ 

 

Information Services also run Skills Boost sessions on loads of different useful things like how to get the best from Google and Google Scholar, referencing, using literature databases, as well as vital areas such as looking after your wellbeing. 

 

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